Asus launches a 7.1 surround headset with synchronized RGB lighting

It seems like every new gaming headset (and gaming peripheral in general) has to have RGB lighting, and the new Asus ROG Strix Fusion 500 is no exception. What's different, however, is that you can synchronize the RGB light show with your teammate, for what that's worth.

"The Strix Fusion 500 can coordinate colors and effects across multiple headsets, making it easy for teammates to match their lighting during esports competitions," Asus explains.

Beneath the bling is what looks to be a promising USB headset. The ROG Strix Fusion 500 is a step up from the ROG Strix Fusion 300 with various design upgrades, including gold colored metal earcup covers instead of plastic, and a higher quality ESS Sabre 9018 DAC and 9601 headphone amp. Those latter parts are similar to what Asus uses on its motherboards that have Supreme-FX audio, the company says.

The new headset employs large 50mm drivers. Combined with the ESS Sabre 9018 DAC, Asus is promising a high level of audio fidelity, with lossless playback up to 24 bits and 96kHz.

Virtualized surround sound is mostly hit or miss on headsets. Asus is attempting it here, with 7.1-channel virtual surround sound support enabled with the tap of a button—the headset doesn't require any drivers or special software.

"Picking up on subtle positional audio cues can mean the difference between life and death on the battleground, so we worked closely with the experts at Bongiovi Acoustics to tune the Fusion’s virtualization profile," Asus added. "The company’s Digital Power Station technology remasters audio in real time based on how humans pay attention to different kinds of sounds. Bongiovi optimized the algorithm for the Fusion 500 using Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, so you can hear your enemies before they get the drop on you."

We'll reserve judgement until we have a chance to test drive this headset ourselves.

Asus says it carefully shaped the earcups to seal sound inside, utilizing subtle bumps at the bottom to better fit the contours of your face. Breathable mesh covers are supposed to prevent you from dripping sweat all over the place, though you can swap them out for full synthetic cushions, which Asus includes in the box.

The ROG Strix Fusion 500 will be available sometime this month for $180.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).